Last week, Senator Kamala Harris became the most recent 2020 presidential candidate to sit down with Blavity Politics.
From her plan to fix the public education system to her controversial time as a prosecutor, Harris went in deep on the issues affecting the black community.
When asked how she will provide public education regardless of income, Harris explained the importance of education to her campaign, touching upon the link between the lack of black teachers in classrooms and the lack of pay for school teachers receive.
“My proposal is also about … teachers who serve in more high need districts,” Harris said. “They actually get paid even more.”
Her education plan includes giving teachers a $13,500 pay raise to match college professors by taxing the rich.
Harris is a proud alumni of the historically black college Howard University and was not shy in flaunting her college experience. She advocated for fixing the infrastructure of HBCU buildings and investing more money into its protection.
“There is the work I am doing around investing, in what will be an investment of $60 billion into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through our HBCUs,” Harris proclaimed. “HBCUs produce the majority, or at least a significant majority, of African Americans who go into these professions and thrive.”
While $50 billion of her investment will go into a Department of Education competitive fund for STEM research and fellowships, Harris proposes $10 billion to fix the school buildings and facilities.
Being A Prosecutor
Black voters have spoken out about Harris' past as a prosecutor — particularly on the impact her position had on the black community. Harris defended her past by explaining she was trying to fix the system from within rather than from the outside.
“I made a very conscious decision to become a prosecutor,” Harris said. “This is about correcting what we know is wrong with a system that has been about mass incarceration and, at its core, about criminalizing a public health issue — which is what was happening in terms of drugs in the community.”
The Militarization Of Police
Harris talks deeply about the newly reinstated 1033 Program: A government program that transfers military equipment to local law enforcement. She compared the militarization of the police to a war created by the current presidency on Americans.
To Harris, the criminalization and militarization of police is not the solution to creating safe and healthy communities. She expressed support for ending that growing trend, starting with rethinking how the criminal justice system operates.
“If the goal is healthy and safe communities, if you understand that to be the goal, then you will understand the militarization of the police department ain’t never gonna get you there,” Harris said.
Watch the full video below to see what Harris had to share with the Blavity News team on the latest episode of The Sit Down.